Yeah, this will work…
I have had the pleasure – or burden – to be at the beginning many times. Church starts, music teams, and Contemporary Worship services.
A few years ago I was asked to help start a contemporary worship service at St. John’s in Fort Mill. In the years since I have seen many such services begun, and many more that have ceased to exist.
In the beginning I was not sure what would happen. The musicians were sparse and had clearly not played with any frequency in recent years. The singers were a mish-mash of styles and attitudes, which did not make an ensemble but would also not carry solos. And there was no drummer…
Well a drummer came, a church member who is a remarkable talent! Far better than I would ever expect from a volunteer drummer… The musicians now play with such ability and confidence they can sight-read a piece on Sunday morning and no one is the wiser. And the singers are now a wonderfully blended ensemble and are eager and able to sing the occasional solo!
And looking back I can recognize the turning point from: Can this work? to Yeah, this will work.
I had been in prayer about the service at St. John’s in Fort Mill, having passed on bigger and more lucrative positions I had begun to feel as if I’d made a mistake. To that point the music was just a recreation of what others had done; things weren’t really coming into their own. The talent was there, but things weren’t clicking.
Then we pulled out Vicky Beeching’s song, Yesterday, Today and Forever. And something happened. No longer did it sound like a cover (or attempt to cover) someone else’s song, but rather it sounded like our interpretation of the piece. Everyone brought their best to the table as an offering. Mind you we do Beeching’s song quite different than her version – hers is very guitar based modern rock, while at The Journey we have a 70s Elton John kind of feel (yeah sounds crazy but it is loads of fun, and the song is so catchy!)
The first Sunday we used Yesterday, Today and Forever in worship you could feel it in the air. This was not a song out of the standard contemporary worship catalog, and it had a totally different feel to it. Everyone brought their best and were present in the moment, creating something holy on that Sunday morning and the congregation joined in the offering.
Now, when we use this song in worship it is familiar, but it is always sung with a special enthusiasm.
Was there a moment in the midst of struggle when you saw the light, the end of the tunnel, what could be?
And finally here is Vicky Beeching’s song, Yesterday, Today & Forever: